Northside, Southside ready for third round battlePublished 7:25pm Thursday, May 16, 2013
The rivalry resumes. After 14 games worth of conference matchups Northside and Southside ended the regular season with matching 11-3 records and a share of the Four Rivers Conference crown. Tonight, there will be no room for sharing as the archrivals will duke it out on the diamond for the right to advance to the fourth round of the NCHSAA 1-A state playoffs when they meet at Southside at 6 p.m.
“It’s a good matchup and I think it’s good for both schools, no matter what happens,” Southside coach John Lohman said. “It’s a chance for us to get together one more time and it pits two really good teams against one another.”
Northside coach Jack Beirne agreed.
“That’s what playoffs should be,” Beirne said. “You should have the best teams playing against each other and with us being rivals that should make it better. I’m hoping that there’s a big crowd there and a lot of energy.”
The two teams have squared off twice already this season with the Seahawks (17-3) getting the best of Northside (16-4) in both matchups.
The first meeting was a 9-6 slugfest that kept Southside within striking distance of the first-place Panthers midway through the season, while the second game was a 1-0 pitchers’ duel that enabled the Seahawks to jump ahead of Northside for the No. 1 seed in the Four Rivers Conference and be the home team in tonight’s matchup.
So what does that mean heading into tonight’s game? Not much to Lohman.
“Both games were different and I don’t expect this game to be like any of the other two,” Lohman said. “Every time we play a team it’s different and I don’t really know what to expect.”
Aside from the color of their jerseys there’s not much off a difference between the two teams. Both have premium pitching, as Southside will lean on ace Savannah Mumford and Northside will look to Kelsey Lang to get the job done. Both teams come equipped with dangerous lineups that are capable of scoring in a variety of ways and have fearsome hitters one through nine, while each team is sturdy defensively.
The deciding factor figures to lie above the shoulders. Though both are stellar teams, neither figures to play a flawless game and how each team navigates their way through their respective rough spots may go a long way in deciding who advances.
“We’re fairly evenly matched teams,” Beirne said. “It’s going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes. That’s the team that’s going to win the ball game. We’re going to have to do everything in our power to make few mistakes and take advantage of any mistakes that they make.”
“It’s just a matter of staying focused,” Lohman said. “We have to stay calm. If we make a mistake we can’t let it get to us. We’re going to make a mistake or two, but we have to keep moving on.”